We've Got One Question: Daniel Buren

Since 1965 painter Daniel Buren has been covering whatever he can with his colored vertical stripes. Buren has covered everything from canvas, walls, and stairs and even train cars that could be seen while looking out of a window from the Art Institute of Chicago. Yeah, sweet, I know. Buren does this in the effort of forcing us to take notice of our surroundings. He drags painting into your space to interrupt your vision and possibly your day. Buren=stripes=Buren. It’s a palindrome. He’s traded his identity for a symbol; in this case it is an exact 8.7cm wide vertical stripe in the service of painting.

Much like how Bruce Wayne traded his identity for a bat in the service of justice. Both are vigilantes. Seen in a gallery or museum setting Buren's stripes take over the space and can feel super oppressive. You start thinking about the sterile white walls and the goddamn white cube and how this space, this institution that is justifying these stripes as art, is really only justified by the art on the walls and about the time that that damn Mike Richards wouldn’t shut that damn dog up when you had your Breaking Bad season premier watching party and he just ruined everything. Or his stripes can remind you of that time that you went to the carnival and rode the carousal and you had no homework and it was Saturday and everything was perfect because you were young and with loved ones. Either way, his stripes make you look. For Buren, the absolute discipline to his practice, his restraint to work within a set structure and his specific sized stripe has sustained a life’s interest.  I recently encountered an energetic and welcoming Buren at his Bortolami and Petzel openings in Chelsea. I needed to know something. - Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor

buren_bortolami
Daniel Buren | Optical Fiber, White and Blue Triangle, Situated Work, 2012, Fiberoptics, 99.33 inches x 99.33 inches. Photo Courtesy Bortolami Gallery

Arthur Peña: Mr. Buren, thank you for your generosity. I have one question: why 8.7cm?

Daniel Buren: Ah. That was the size of the first thing I found.

There you have it. Thanks for clearing that up, Danny boy.

buren_bortolami2
Daniel Buren Paint On | Under Plexiglas on Serigraphy, Four Corners Out, Black Diptych, Situated Work,
2013. Acrylic paint on plexiglas over striped cotton canvas. 98.43 x 78.74 inches (each). Photo Courtesy Bortolami Gallery

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Daniel Buren's, WORKS IN SITU & SITUATED WORKS FROM 1968 to 2013, will be on view at the Bortolami Gallery through February 16th.

Arthur Peña is an artist and professor currently living and working in Dallas, TX. He is currently preparing for an exhibition that opens in February at RE Gallery.

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